Calling it a “as soon as in a era alternative,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot opened the Nationwide Council of Legislators from Gaming States on Monday by selling her metropolis because it continues accepting proposals for a on line casino within the downtown space.
The downtown space of the third-largest metropolis within the nation was one among six websites permitted to construct a on line casino when Gov. JB Pritzker signed a massive gaming expansion bill into regulation in June 2019 that additionally legalized sports wagering. The city issued its RFP in late April, although the largest information within the course of thus far was MGM Resorts saying it will doubtless not be among the many candidates shortly thereafter.
“For house owners and operators, our metropolis really gives a as soon as in a era alternative to construct a on line casino and leisure district in a significant American metropolis,” Lightfoot mentioned, ticking off town’s metropolitan inhabitants and key financial drivers as factors of attraction. “I’m trying ahead to reviewing the proposals that are available in.”
Lightfoot was in a position to make downtown Chicago a viable website for a possible on line casino following an in depth rewrite of the casino tax structure that was accredited by state authorities in Could 2020. The objective is for the downtown on line casino to be open by 2025.
Lightfoot: Course of is “huge open”
The Mayor additionally appeared to knock down hypothesis that Rush Road Gaming is the odds-on favourite to be awarded the downtown license. The Illinois-based firm has a considerable stake in Rivers On line casino in Des Plaines — the closest Illinois-based on line casino to Chicago — and is among the many finalists to construct a on line casino in Waukegan, lower than an hour’s drive from town to the north and close to the Wisconsin border.
“There’s a little bit dialog about this, I’m advised. This RFP is huge open,” she added in maybe the closest factor to impromptu remarks. “There are not any hometown favorites. We need to make sure that we get the perfect in-class alternatives for anybody throughout the nation who understands the worth of being in a metropolis like Chicago.”
Rivers On line casino is the first gaming income generator among the many 10 casinos in Illinois and accounted for greater than half of the $21.4 million in tax receipts within the state for the month of June, in response to figures launched by the Illinois Gaming Board. It has generated practically $200 million in adjusted gross income this yr and greater than $50 million in state and native taxes.
Lightfoot famous that whereas the on line casino is necessary to town, it must be a part of an “built-in on line casino resort.” She emphasised the “resort” side, telling panelists, “What we envision is a world-class leisure district, anchored by a on line casino but additionally offering different facilities in order that our vacationers and residents can reap the benefits of a first-class gaming expertise.”
Metropolis will probably be a keen associate
Lightfoot promoted her workplace as pleasant to the trade, saying, “We perceive the significance of enterprise. We perceive the significance of making alternatives for all our residents throughout our neighborhoods. So an operator who involves spend money on Chicago goes to have a associate in our authorities that’s going to offer assist to uplift the encircling group and atmosphere.
“So not solely will you might have an excellent enterprise alternative, you’re going to discover a prepared, keen, and in a position workforce that’s going to be supported by this administration.”
The mayor concluded her remarks by noting that gaming can assist cities and that Chicago is watching different municipalities — citing Las Vegas for instance — to assist them establish finest practices that can make town enticing to potential bidders.
“On the heels of a as soon as in a era pandemic and the worst financial disaster in 75 years, gaming, amongst different industries, has the potential to really revitalize and rework communities and cities,” Lightfoot mentioned. “We’ve been watching right here in Chicago fairly intently. We’re watching what occurs in cities like Las Vegas and different gaming facilities world wide, and seeing how these different facilities have tailored to a post-pandemic economic system and realities.
“And we’re well-poised to reap the benefits of the perfect practices that now we have seen throughout the nation and, really, internationally.”